Even as the Mariners mount a September push in an effort to end a 14-year postseason drought, they now know what awaits them in their 40th-anniversary season.
And it’s a challenge.
Check out these details from the 2017 schedule, which Major League Baseball released Wednesday — with the usual qualifier that it’s still subject to possible tweaks. All times are also tentative:
***The Mariners open and close 2017 with weeklong trips against division opponents. They begin the season April 3 with a four-game series at Houston before moving on to play three games against the Angels in Anaheim.
The regular season concludes Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 with three-game series at Oakland and Anaheim.
***There is a four-city road trip that closes out August. It begins at Tampa Bay and moves up the East Coast through Atlanta and onto New York to play the Yankees before dropping back to Baltimore.
That visit to Atlanta means the Mariners will get a look the Braves’ new stadium, SunTrust Park.
***That extended trip is part of a grueling August road tour; the Mariners play just seven home games from July 31 through Aug. 31.
***The 2017 schedule matches the American League West against the National League East. That means trips to Atlanta, Washington and Philadelphia in addition to the club’s always-rugged travel schedule to play American League opponents.
In return, Philadelphia, Miami and the New York Mets will play at Safeco Field. The Mets’ visit is notable in that it caps a 10-game homestand from July 20-30 that also includes the New York Yankees and Boston.
***The Vedder Cup goes into storage for at least a year. Because of a new rotating plan regarding "natural" interleague rivals, the Mariners won’t be playing San Diego. Instead, they play a four-game split series against Colorado.
Under the new plan, the Mariners (along with Texas and Houston) will rotate interleague rivalry games against San Diego, Colorado and Arizona.
***The home schedule opens at 2:10 p.m. on April 10 against Houston. It’s a nine-game homestand that also consists of three-game series against Texas and Miami.
***The annual Canadian invasion for Toronto’s visit to Safeco Field will be the weekend of June 9-11 for a three-game series,
***The Mariners are on the road for Memorial Day (May 29 at Colorado), but they are at home for Independence Day (July 4 vs. Kansas City), and Labor Day (Sept. 4 vs. Houston).
The plan to get an extended look at recently-acquired outfielder Ben Gamel is on hold as Nori Aoki and Seth Smith continue to spark a resurgent attack.
Aoki entered Wednesday on an 8-for-20 run over his five previous games with two doubles and two homers. Smith had eight hits, including three homers, in 21 at-bats over his previous seven games.
"Smitty has certainly turned it up," manager Scott Servais said, "and Nori has been great since he’s been back (from Triple-A Tacoma).
"There’s still plenty of time to get Gamel in there, but when those guys are going as good as they are, they’re kind of the leading catalysts on our offense. They make a huge difference.
"When we’re really played well, it was driven by the pieces around our core."
Gamel started just one of the last seven games but, entering Wednesday, had entered all others as a late-inning replacement.
A RARE GEM
Taijuan Walker became the first pitcher in club history Tuesday to throw a complete-game shutout on the road while allowing three or fewer hits, striking out 10 or more and not walking a batter.
Walker threw 113 pitches Tuesday in an 8-0 victory over the Angels. He gave up three hits, struck out 11 and did not walk a batter.
It’s only happened three times at home.
Felix Hernandez did it twice in 2012: July 14 against Texas in a 7-0 victory at Safeco Field; and Aug. 15 in his perfect game, a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay at Safeco Field.
Aaron Harang did it on June 11, 2013 in a 4-0 victory over Houston at Safeco Field.
WIELAND TO BRAVES
The Mariners dealt away another starting pitcher Wednesday when they sent right-hander Joe Wieland to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later or cash.
The move came one day after the Mariners sent lefty Wade LeBlanc in a similar PTBNL/cash transaction.
Wieland, 26, spent most of the season at Triple-A Tacoma, where he was 14-6 with a 5.43 ERA in 26 games, including 24 starts. He made one big-league start and gave up six runs in five innings in an Aug. 12 loss at Oakland.
The was the only game the Mariners lost this season at the Oakland Coliseum. Wieland was designated for assignment shortly after that game. When he cleared waivers, he was returned to Tacoma on an outright assignment.
The Mariners acquired Wieland from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Jan. 12 trade for minor-league infielder Erick Mejia.
Short-A Everett lost the decisive third game in the Northwest League championship series Tuesday when it fell 2-1 at Eugene (Cubs).
The Mariners still have two affiliates pursuing titles. While all seven of the organization’s clubs reached postseason, the only one to win a championship so far is Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League.
***Double-A Jackson holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Southern League championship series over Mississippi (Braves) after Tuesday’s 2-0 victory. Brett Ash and Ryne Harper combined on the shutout.
The series continues Thursday at Mississippi.
***Lo-A Clinton opened the best-of-five Midwest League championship series Wednesday against Great Lakes (Dodgers).
It was 27 years ago Thursday — Sept. 15, 1989 — that the sale of the Mariners from George Argyros to Indianapolis broadcast executives Jeff Smulyan and Michael Browning was approved unanimously by the other 25 club owners.
Smulyan became chairman of the board on Oct. 5, 1989. He remains in control of the franchise until it is sold in June 1992 to a Seattle-based group backed by Nintendo owner Hiroshi Yamauchi of Japan.
First baseman Adam Lind tested his injured right index finger by hitting in the batting cages. He reported a continued irritation when making contact but said he expects to be ready for Friday’s series opener against Houston at Safeco Field…Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, who pitched for the Mariners in 1982-83, turns 78 on Thursday. He won his 300th game on May 6, 1982 with a complete game against the New York Yankees at the Kingdome. He finished his 22-year career at 314-265 and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991…the Mariners outscored their opponents 50-14 in their seven-game winning streak…the Mariners entered Wednesday with a streak of hitting at least one homer in 13 straight games. They had a 14-game run from June 7-21.
The Mariners have an open date Thursday before opening a six-game homestand at 7:10 p.m. Friday with the first of three weekend games against Houston at Safeco Field. The homestand concludes with three games against Toronto.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (11-5 with 3.58 ERA) will pitch Friday against Houston right-hander Collin McHugh (10-10, 4.86).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on the Mariners Radio Network, which includes 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners
MARINERS 2017 SCHEDULE
(All times Pacific; all times tentative)
April 3: at Houston, 5:10 p.m.
April 4: at Houston, 5:10 p.m.
April 5: at Houston, 5:10 p.m.
April 6: at Houston, 5:10 p.m.
April 7: at Los Angeles Angels, 7:07 p.m.
April 8: at Los Angeles Angels, 7:07 p.m.
April 9: at Los Angeles Angels, 12:37 p.m.
April 10: Houston, 2:10 p.m.
April 11: Houston, 7:10 p.m.
April 12: Houston: 7:10 p.m.
April 13: open date
April 14: Texas, 7:10 p.m.
April 15: Texas, 6:10 p.m.
April 16: Texas, 1:10 p.m.
April 17: Miami, 7:10 p.m.
April 18: Miami, 7:10 p.m.
April 19: Miami: 12:40 p.m.
April 20: at Oakland: 7:07 p.m.
April 21: at Oakland, 7:07 p.m.
April 22: at Oakland, 1:07 p.m.
April 23: at Oakland, 1:07 p.m.
April 24: open date
April 25: at Detroit, 4:10 p.m.
April 26: at Detroit, 4:10 p.m.
April 27: at Detroit, 10:10 a.m.
April 28: at Cleveland, 4:10 p.m.
April 29: at Cleveland, 1:10 p.m.
April 30: at Cleveland, 10:10 a.m.
May 1: open date
May 2: Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m.
May 3: Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m.
May 4: Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m.
May 5: Texas, 7:10 p.m.
May 6: Texas, 6:10 p.m.
May 7: Texas, 1:10 p.m.
May 8: open date
May 9: at Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m.
May 10: at Philadelphia, 10:05 a.m.
May 11: at Toronto, 4:07 p.m.
May 12: at Toronto, 4:07 p.m.
May 13: at Toronto, 10:07 a.m.
May 14: at Toronto, 10:07 a.m.
May 15: Oakland, 7:10 p.m.
May 16: Oakland, 7:10 p.m.
May 17: Oakland, 7:10 p.m.
May 18: Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.
May 19: Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.
May 20: Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.
May 21: Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m.
May 22: open date
May 23: at Washington, 4:05 p.m.
May 24: at Washington, 4:05 p.m.
May 25: at Washington, 1:05 p.m.
May 26: at Boston, 4:10 p.m.
May 27: at Boston, TBD
May 28: at Boston, 10:35 a.m.
May 29: at Colorado, 12:10 p.m.
May 30: at Colorado, 4:10 p.m.
May 31: Colorado, 7:10 p.m.
June 1: Colorado, 12:40 p.m.
June 2: Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.
June 3: Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.
June 4: Tampa Bay, 1:10 p.m.
June 5: open date
June 6: Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.
June 7: Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.
June 8: Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.
June 9: Toronto, 7:10 p.m.
June 10: Toronto, 7:10 p.m.
June 11: Toronto, 1:10 p.m.
June 12: at Minnesota, 5:10 p.m.
June 13: at Minnesota, 5:10 p.m.
June 14: at Minnesota, 5:10 p.m.
June 15: at Minnesota, 10:10 a.m.
June 16: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
June 17: at Texas, TBD
June 18: at Texas, 12:05 p.m.
June 19: Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
June 20: Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
June 21: Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
June 22: Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
June 23: Houston, 7:10 p.m.
June 24: Houston, 7:10 p.m.
June 25: Houston, 1:10 p.m.
June 26: open date
June 27: Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
June 28: Philadelphia, 12:40 p.m.
June 29: open date
June 30: at Los Angeles Angels, 7:07 p.m.
July 1: at Los Angeles Angels, 7:07 p.m.
July 2: at Los Angeles Angels, 12:37 p.m.
July 3: Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.
July 4: Kansas City, 3:40 p.m.
July 5: Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.
July 6: Oakland, 7:10 p.m.
July 7: Oakland, 7:10 p.m.
July 8: Oakland, 7:10 p.m.
July 9: Oakland, 1:10 p.m.
July 10: All-Star break
July 11: All-Star Game at Miami
July 12: All-Star break
July 13: All-Star break
July 14: at Chicago White Sox, 5:10 p.m.
July 15: at Chicago White Sox, 4:10 p.m.
July 16: at Chicago White Sox, 11:10 a.m.
July 17: at Houston, 5:10 p.m.
July 18: at Houston, 5:10 p.m.
July 19: at Houston, 11:10 a.m.
July 20: New York Yankees, 7:10 p.m.
July 21: New York Yankees, 7:10 p.m.
July 22: New York Yankees, 6:10 p.m.
July 23: New York Yankees, 1:10 p.m.
July 24: Boston, 7:10 p.m.
July 25: Boston, 7:10 p.m.
July 26: Boston, 12:40 p.m.
July 27: open date
July 28: New York Mets, 7:10 p.m.
July 29: New York Mets, 1:10 p.m.
July 30: New York Mets, 1:10 p.m.
July 31: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
August 1: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
August 2: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
August 3: at Kansas City, 5:15 p.m.
August 4: at Kansas City, 5:15 p.m.
August 5: at Kansas City, 4:15 p.m.
August 6: at Kansas City, 11:15 a.m.
August 7: open date
August 8: at Oakland, 7:07 p.m.
August 9: at Oakland, 12:37 p.m.
August 10: Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m.
August 11: Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m.
August 12: Los Angeles Angels, 6:10 p.m.
August 13: Los Angeles Angels, 1:10 p.m.
August 14: Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.
August 15: Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.
August 16: Baltimore, 12:40 p.m.
August 17: open date
August 18: at Tampa Bay, 4:10 p.m.
August 19: at Tampa Bay, TBD
August 20: at Tampa Bay, 10:10 a.m.
August 21: at Atlanta, 4:35 p.m.
August 22: at Atlanta, 4:35 p.m.
August 23: at Atlanta, 4:35 p.m.
August 24: open date
August 25: at New York Yankees, 4:05 p.m.
August 26: at New York Yankees, TBD
August 27: at New York Yankees, TBD
August 28: at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m.
August 29: at Baltimore, 4:05 p.m.
August 30: at Baltimore, TBD
August 31: open date
September 1: Oakland, 7:10 p.m.
September 2: Oakland, 6:10 p.m.
September 3: Oakland, 1:10 p.m.
September 4: Houston, 3:40 p.m.
September 5: Houston, 7:10 p.m.
September 6: Houston, 7:10 p.m.
September 7: open date
September 8: Los Angeles Angels, 7:10 p.m.
September 9: Los Angeles Angels, 6:10 p.m.
September 10: Los Angeles Angels, 1:10 p.m.
September 11: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
September 12: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
September 13: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
September 14: at Texas, 5:05 p.m.
September 15: at Houston, 5:10 p.m.
September 16: at Houston, TBD
September 17: at Houston, 11:10 a.m.
September 18: open date
September 19: Texas, 7:10 p.m.
September 20: Texas, 7:10 p.m.
September 21: Texas, 7:10 p.m.
September 22: Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.
September 23: Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.
September 24: Cleveland, 1:10 p.m.
September 25: at Oakland, 7:07 p.m.
September 26: at Oakland, 7:07 p.m.
September 27: at Oakland, 12:37 p.m.
September 28: open date
September 29: at Los Angeles Angels, 7:07 p.m.
September 30: at Los Angeles Angels, 6:07 p.m.
October 1: at Los Angeles Angels, 12:07 p.m.